Independence Day freedom

J S Kamra
My little daughter Royali asked me, one fine day, what does the word ‘independence’ signify? Very simple, I said, it simply means freedom. To probe me further she asked, as to if it means that India is free. I replied by nodding my head. So she was satisfied and went to watch her favourite cartoon show. But her question put my mind to work, to ponder over the fact “is our country really free?
My mind reasoned that of course it was, as the ‘goras’ have long left our country. But then my second mind emerged from somewhere and it said that sure our motherland was free of the ‘goras’ but we are still slaves of many evils such as inequality in society, corruption, traffic chaos on roads, and the like.
This filled my mind with anger and disgust that after so many decades of our getting formal independence, we are still not free from our own created messes.
So, as it happens with all of us, My mind started searching for the culpit of all these deep rooted problems in our society. Who is responsible for this? The first guess, as usual, the government, but is that all? Or some other party is also responsible? Are ‘we’ responsible or not, was the next logic which my mind gave to me. It was a valid logic. My mind reasoned that it could not be the government alone which should be responsible for every wrong thing prevailing in our society. Yeah, it was a valid reason, we Indians are responsible to a great extent.
Royali, my daughter was watching cartoons peacefully, unknown of the fact that she had stirred a storm in my mind. My mind provided a long list of activities which we do on a regular basis and which are not a part of civilised behaviour. We are in the habit of throwing garbage on the road, park our vehicles wrongly, interfere into other people’s life, talk loudly especially over the phone and to top it all never blame ourselves for any fault of ours.
It has become our habit to blame the system, the government, but what about us? Are we not at fault? What are we contributing to the system? It has become a fashion to blame the system and say that it is not going to change. But are we doing aomething to change the system? Are we refusing to pay bribes? Are we parking our vehicles responsibly? Do we put the garbage into the dust bins, when outside? Or, if we think, we cannot do any of this ourselves, do we teach these things to our children? If not, how can we blame the system or the Government? Its not they, but ‘we’ who are reaponaible for the slavery of the evils, created by us in our free country.
Now as it was established, in my mind, that we are responsible for the evils in our society, my mind popped up with yet another question that is, what was the cure of the diseases affecting us all.
And my mind raced at the speed of light on the lookout for the cure. And the remedy was ready on the platter, as fast as the problem was. And the remedy reccomended was freedom. So laughable!! How can freedom cure us of the diseases affecting us? But soon I got the point of it all. Freedom means freedom from the evils which affect us. So the point was that we need to free ourselves of the evils which have made an abode in our bodies. We need to throw them away instantly. Ya they have to be thrown out the same way as we had thrown goras away.
So now the confusion was clear. If we REALLY want to get free, in the real sense of the term, we first of all have to have an introspection and weed out the evils affecting us. For example, we should not pay bribes to the government servants, we should put the garbage in the dust bins, park our vehicles on proper places and so on. This way we will be free of the evils affecting us and become free in the real sense of the term.
Royali came to me and said ” Papa are you free now to play with me? ” I replied with a big smile on my lips “ya Royali, I really am “.
The author is a civil services faculty.


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